Last Chance for Meaningful Use Incentives, Avoid Penalties in 2016

Avoid 2016 PenaltiesOctober 1 marks another important meaningful use deadline—especially if you missed the opportunity to begin on July 1 and avoid the 1% Medicare payment adjustment in 2015. October 1 is the last day to begin meaningful use and avoid a larger penalty—a 2% adjustment in 2016.

Additionally, if you begin by October 1 and attest by February 28, 2015, you are eligible for the remaining Medicare incentive payments—up to $24,000 over the next three years based on a percentage of your Medicare Part B billings.

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The Core of the Matter

Core Measure 7 BadgePatient Electronic Access

How has your meaningful use experience been so far? Hopefully you’ve been breezing through it, but even so, you probably still have questions and would benefit from some interpretation along the way.

Recently, we tackled Core Measure 17 (CM17), voted the most challenging measure for eye care providers (ECPs)*, so let’s address Core Measure 7 (CM7), which relates closely to CM17.

Requirements of CM7
Core measure 7 consists of two measures, both of which must be achieved and are direct functions of the patient portal. The first requires that online access be provided to over 50% of all unique patients seen during the demonstration period. The second requires that over 5% of all unique patients during that same demonstration period view, download, or transmit their health information to another provider or any other 3rd party.

What it means to you
If you’re using a complete EHR solution, meeting the first requirement of CM7 shouldn’t be difficult. However, some providers may find it a little tougher to meet the second requirement. Like CM17, the challenge lies with the fact that it’s out of your hands – you are depending on the actions of others to fulfill this requirement. The challenge grows if you have patients who are less technologically inclined, or if you’re in a rural area where internet connectivity may be less common.

Conquering the Challenge
CM7 is achievable, even though it’s based on the actions of others. The easier it is for your patients, and the more benefit they receive, the more likely they are to appreciate and embrace the opportunity to access their health information. Here are some examples that might help you:

  • Make sure you have the correct email address for your patient. You can take care of this when the patient checks in for their appointment.
  • Remind your patients that they can view their health records and test results, as well as communicate directly with you electronically.
  • Print a reminder on the back of your appointment cards, with instructions on how to log in and create an account.
  • Set up a desktop or laptop computer in your waiting room, and designate one of your staff to assist patients with establishing their account and accessing their records.

Remember, by starting early – even before your demonstration period – you’ll have momentum on your side and be well on the way to fulfilling this core measure. Check your progress regularly to assure that you’re on track for success. Be sure you’re using not only a complete EHR solution, but one that provides a meaningful use calculator to help you gauge your progress. This core measure, more than any other, empowers patients to stay informed and be involved in their own healthcare. Next stop, success!

Check back here frequently for help with more of the MU2 core measures. And if you have any questions, contact us at MeaningfulUse@eyefinity.com or visit us online at eyefinity.com/mu2.

 

*Voted by us

Closing Out 2012 Meaningful Use

MSMU VerticalAs 2012 comes to a close, many of you, who are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, are going to be attesting to meaningful use for the first time. While attesting or reporting your meaningful use might seem like a daunting and nerve-wracking process, it only seems that way because it’s a new experience.

Here are some things to keep in mind and links to additional resources where you can find complete information about meaningful use, attestation, and the EHR Incentive Programs.

Attesting on Time

You must attest to meaningful use after your reporting period, and not during your reporting period. If your attestation period continues through December 31, you may then complete your attestation beginning January 1. For the Medicare EHR Incentive Program you must complete your attestation by February 28, 2013. If you are participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, check with your state’s Medicaid for applicable deadlines.

Even if you can’t officially attest until January 1, you will want to perform steps 1 and 2 below to head off any potential shortcomings.

Navigating the Attestation System

Each doctor must attest individually, you cannot attest as a practice. Follow these steps to ensure your attestation goes smoothly:

  1. In ExamWRITER, click the Reports menu and run the CMS Meaningful Use Reporting and CMS Quality Reporting. For complete instructions, press F1 for help.
    – The meaningful use report lists only those measures that require percentages. The unlisted measures require a simple yes or no answer.
    – If your percentages are low in some of the menu measures, don’t fret. You only need to report on 5 out of the 10 menu set measures, provided one of them is menu 9 or 10.
    – Many of the measures may be satisfied by claiming an allowable exclusion.
    – The clinical quality measures may show low percentages. That’s okay. They don’t have minimum thresholds.
  2. Practice your attestation using CMS’ Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator.
    – If your numbers are low review the “Achieving Meaningful Use with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER” or “Tracking CMS Quality Measures in ExamWRITER” documents, which can be found on our Meaningful Use Starter Kit page. If your attestation period has not ended, there may still be time to correct some shortcomings.
    – If didn’t realize that you were short in a measure until after 2012 was over, look for allowable exclusions. If no exclusion applies to you, it is too late to correct any shortcomings.
  3. Attest to your meaningful use through the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System.
    – Use the Attestation User Guide for Eligible Professionals for visual, step-by-step instructions.
    – Attestation is self-reported. You do not need to furnish documentation when you attest. Documentation may be required later (see “Surviving an Audit,” below).
    – If you are asked for your EHR Certification Number, refer to this knowledge base article.

Surviving an Audit

Since the EHR incentive programs are government-funded initiatives, audits are an important part of abating fraud and waste in the program. CMS will not release specific information about the nature of the audits, but they have posted some general guidelines on their Frequently Asked Questions page. While OfficeMate/ExamWRITER users have nothing to fear from these audits, we encourage you to save a printed or electronic copy of your meaningful use calculations and any communications that you have had regarding meaningful use. For example, you’ll want to save copies of the following:

  • Meaningful use report calculations
  • Clinical quality report calculations
  • Email showing that you transmitted a CCR to a colleague (core 14)
  • Checklist or documentation from your security audit (core 15)
  • A full screenshot of OfficeMate or ExamWRITER with the About window open (showing the date and the practice license information)
  • Any other documents or communications you have regarding meaningful use

Getting Paid

In theory, you can expect to see your check between six to eight weeks after attesting to meaningful use.

In reality, there are a number of factors that could delay your payment:

  • If you have not yet reached $24,000 in Medicare Part B billings, your payment will be held until you do. Your incentive payment for 2012 is based on 75% of your Part B billings up to a ceiling of $24,000, making the maximum payment $18,000.
  • If you do not bill $24,000 in Medicare Part B billings in 2012, your payment will be sent six to eight weeks after the final day to bill for 2012, which is February 28. So, you won’t see your check until April.
  • If you participated in a state Medicaid incentive program, the payment timeframe varies drastically.

Payments are made on a per-provider basis, and not per practice. Payments are based on a percentage of your allowable Medicare Part B billings. Even if your practice bills under one NPI, the incentive is determined by the rendering provider’s NPI on the CMS 1500.

Continuing Meaningful Use

For 2013, you will once again attest to stage 1, but for the entire calendar year.

For 2014, you will attest to 90 days of stage 2 meaningful use (we’ll be communicating with you about that throughout 2013 and 2014).

Coming to Vision Expo West? Check out our daily theater presentations.

It’s that time of year again! Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot of you all at Vision Expo West! We’ve got some great theater presentations taking place daily at our booth (#14064) at the show (Thursday, September 6 – Saturday, September 8).

If you’re a planner, consider adding some of our daily 30-60 minute free presentations to your show schedule:

Demonstrating Meaningful Use in ExamWRITER 10:30 a.m.

Overview of how to demonstrate Meaningful Use in ExamWRITER to qualify for federal stimulus dollars. Hear how easy it is direct from doctors who have already received money from the government.

EyeXam 11:30 a.m.

Get ready to launch your practice into the mobile world with the new EyeXam app. Learn how this mobile technology puts your practice in patients’ hands, allowing them to schedule appointments, chat with you in real time, and much more–right from their mobile device or computer! This enables you to recruit, retain, and engage patients–anytime, anywhere.

AcuityLogic 12:30 p.m.

Get acquainted with our next generation optical software system, an easy-to-use, intuitive, integrated practice management system that supports the core areas of your business, available in the cloud. AcuityLogic with ExamWRITER is ONC-ATCB 2011/2012-certified as a Complete EHR Module by CCHIT, so you get the very best in electronic medical record capability.

OfficeMate®/ExamWRITER 1:30 p.m.

Learn why OfficeMate and ExamWRITER are the industry’s most widely-used integrated practice management and electronic medical record software, helping more practices qualify for federal stimulus payments and providing a better clinical experience.

Whats’s new in OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10.7 2:30 p.m.

Preview the newest version of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER, scheduled to be released this fall. See the new features that will help your practice run more efficiently, all the while saving you valuable time and money.

Save Time. Make Money. Be Happy. Make the Switch. 3:30 p.m.

See why thousands of eyecare providers choose eyefinity.com for all their claims and ordering needs. Eyefinity.com is the one, easy-to-use place you can quickly and securely do it all.

#1 for Most ECPs Receiving EHR Incentive Payments

Qualify for EHR incentive money by October 3More than 1,300 eyecare providers (ECPs) have demonstrated meaningful use and collected thousands of dollars in EHR incentive payments—with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10, the certified, complete EHR.  That’s almost half of all eyecare professionals who have received payments to date!

Eyefinity is proud to provide the industry’s leading product that has helped the most ECPs receive incentive payments.

See how OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 helped these two doctors fulfill meaningful use and secure incentive payments.

Amanda Schmidt, OD, Northwest Optometry Associates, Fresno, California

“I wanted software that would seamlessly integrate our back office with front office billing. I also wanted to be sure that the software company I selected would be around for awhile. It was satisfying to know that Eyefinity was a stable, well-established company with reliable technical support. The most challenging part was understanding what meaningful use was. But the Eyefinity meaningful use resources did an excellent job explaining it. I’m just one doctor with one office, and I received more stimulus money than I thought I would!”

James Hertzog, OD, Hertzog Family Eye Care, Cabot, Arkansas

When asked what he considered most important when selecting a certified EHR system, Dr. Hertzog required “ease of use, cost, and a comprehensive product.” OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 topped the list.

“The Meaningful Use Report in ExamWRITER is helpful in reminding me what information needs to be collected to demonstrate meaningful use. If you haven’t upgraded to a certified EHR and fulfilled meaningful use, do it now. It’s easy and the longer you wait, there will be less stimulus funds available to offset any costs to implement EHR.”

Find out how you can qualify for incentive payments using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER. The last day to begin meaningful use if October 3.

There’s Still Time to Reach Your Full Potential

James Kirchner, OD

2012 is a very important year from an EHR meaningful use incentive perspective. A year that should not be ignored if you have plans to move into a certified EHR system and get the most incentive money possible from Uncle Sam. Under the HITECH act, 2012 is that last chance to get the full $44,000 under the Medicare meaningful use program. Here’s how it works.

The HITECH incentive plan began January 1, 2011. On that date, CMS began the meaningful use program under the first of three stages. In Stage 1, which is the easiest of the three stages, an eligible provider (both optometrists and ophthalmologists are EPs in the Medicare program) can fulfill meaningful use for 90 days in their first year. If that is accomplished in either 2011 or 2012, an eyecare professional is qualified to receive a potential $44,000 (depending on your annual Medicare Part B allowable billings) over the length of the incentive program, with the first year check of $18,000.

If for whatever reason, you fail to get your first year accomplished in 2012, you will automatically lose $5,000 in potential incentive money. Realize this means that you must start your 90 days of meaningful use no later than October 1, 2012. If you miss that date, you have missed fulfillment in 2012 and must wait for 2013.

Another HITECH bonus for getting it done in 2012 is that CMS has just announced that Stage II meaningful use will not begin until 2014 rather than 2013. That means you will have two years to fulfill meaningful use under the easier Stage I. For those of you who were successful in 2011, you have three years of fulfillment under Stage I.

There is no reason to wait. At Eyefinity, we have our certified suite of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 ready for you. In fact we already have thousands of offices using the certified version and we are proud to say that in 2011 nearly 1,000 of our customers fulfilled meaningful use, almost twice as many as our competitors. We have a full training program and a powerful meaningful use knowledge base on our website at eyefinity.com.

So don’t wait any longer. Do yourself and your practice a favor by moving into the modern world of EHR. You will never regret the move and your pocketbook will be the proof. Don’t run the risk of someday looking back and saying, “if only I had…”

– James K. Kirchner, OD
Chief Professional Officer, Eyefinity

A look back at Vision Expo West

Missed Vision Expo West this year? No worries – check out the video below to see everything Eyefinity had going on at the show! Hope to see you all at Vision Expo East in March!